GRACE Leadership Journey

GRACE Leadership Journey – Program Details

GRACE Leadership Journey begins with an immersive one-week retreat at GRACE Center with a specialized curriculum using academic sessions, guest instructors, place-based learning, physical challenges, and practical application of skills being discussed and studied.  Each month, students return for one weekend which includes “Conversation with a Leader,” a group discussion with a community or business leader (Friday evening), place-based learning activity and sessions on communications, time management, and problem solving techniques (Saturday morning and afternoon), practical application of the skills learned through debating a highly charged issue or set of issues (Saturday evening); and assessment of practical application and introduction to next session with assigned readings and assignments (Sunday morning). The relationships formed and the practical application of these valuable skills are vital tools that participants can use to more effectively resolve controversial issues in ways that are proactive, inclusive, and yield results to benefit communities collectively.

The program starts with a 7-day Kickoff Retreat. This is an immersive experience that introduces students to each other, Kohala Institute and begins to examine leadership styles and perspectives as it will relate to students throughout the program.

The Kickoff Retreat provides opportunities for students to:

  • Design goals for themselves as individuals and as a cohort
  • Engage in basic analysis to help students to identify their strengths and behavioral tendencies
  • Meet program mentors and have quality time to establish a relationship with them
  • Explore the values of Gratitude, Respect, Accountability, Courage, and Engagement through place-based experiences at ‘Iole
  • Engage in place-based group activities to build relationships between cohort members
  • Begin to explore various interpersonal communication skills and techniques

The Capstone Retreat occurs during the last weekend session and is a time to reflect on accomplishments, assess progress, and plan for the future. Activities include one-on-one meetings with mentors, presentations by students about their learning experience during the program and their plans for the future, and a graduation ceremony.


The “clinic” is a peer to peer exercise where a student is given a 60-minute block to focus on issues important to them. This powerful peer-to-peer experience yields insight and helps with understanding multiple perspectives for all participants.

Placed-Based Activities

Utilizing the Collaboration For Solutions framework, customized place-based activities enable exploration of connections to land and environment, self, and others. These activities include nature activities, farming, and Hawaiian arts and crafts.

Contemplative Practices

The contemplative practices that are introduced to students during the GRACE Leadership Journey focus on essential techniques to develop attention, emotional stability, and empathy in order to aid and encourage participants to “know thyself” in their own journey of self-discovery. Practices includes mindfulness of breathing, mindfulness of thoughts/emotions, simple yoga postures or qigong to awaken or stabilize the nervous system, and natural awareness practices that can be used in everyday life situations.

Conversations with Leaders

Eight to ten evening briefings are hosted on the Friday evenings to start monthly weekend sessions. This is a one hour discussion where students are taught how to ask probing questions and how to analyze information shared. This is a “vegas rules” discussion where “what is said in the room stays in the room.” Students gain exposure and experience from accomplished professionals and learn about different sectors, mindsets, and individual pathways of leadership. Leaders from various backgrounds will be included: military, civic, business, community, education, culture, and government. The conversations are facilitated by students. This top tier of leadership provides inspiration, reflection, and insight into the topics of leadership and inform and explore the shared landscape (real, political, social, and economic landscape) of Hawai’i.

Capstone Project

As part of their learning experience, students will do a service project. This can be a one-time project or a longstanding project that continues service. It can be an individual project or a group project. Its design will be left to the students to decide. Criteria will focus on impact to their community, demonstration of connection to land and GRACE Values, demonstration of leadership skills learned in GRACE Leadership program.

Sessions and Key ActivitiesDatesLocation
Self and Leadership (I)
Cohort Convenes
Session1: (Kick-Off Retreat)

Leadership: Emerging and Actual Difficult Conversations
July 16-22
GRACE Center
Session 2:

Emotional Intelligence: Self-Awareness,
Self-Regulation, Empathy and Social Skills
Difficult Conversations
August 11-13GRACE Center
Session 3:

Managing Yourself: Time Management, Life Plan
Difficult Conversations
September 8-10GRACE Center
You and Others (We)
Session 4:

Types of Leadership
Difficult Conversations
October 13-15GRACE Center
Session 5:

Courageous Leadership
Difficult Conversations
November 10-12GRACE Center
Influence and Teams (It)
Session 6:

Working with Others
Facilitation Skills
Difficult Conversations
December 8-10GRACE Center
Session 7:

Social Media Skills, Literacy, Impact
January 12-14GRACE Center
Session 8:

Systems Thinking and Mapping
Difficult Conversations
February 9-11GRACE Center
Integration and Implementation
Session 9:

Capstone Project Planning and Project Management
Impact Analysis and Skills
March 9-11GRACE Center
Session 10:

The Capstone Project- Implementation Assessment
April 13-15GRACE Center
Session 11

Peer to Peer Capstone Project Presentations
May 11-13GRACE Center
Session 12: (Closing Retreat)

Presentation to KI Board and Sponsors
7 minute video recap
June 9-11GRACE Center
Begin Your Journey
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Kohala Institute at 'Iole
53-580 'Iole Road
Kapa'au, HI 96755

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